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Chicago Jazz Strings Summit at Elastic Arts and Constellation on May 12-13



Chicago Jazz String Summit (CJSS) is a two-day music festival showcasing jazz, classical & experimental music by internationally celebrated musicians. Founded by critically acclaimed cellist and composer, Tomeka Reid, this year’s multi-venue event is open to public and will take place at Elastic Arts and Constellation on May 12-13, 2017 respectively. Chicago Jazz String Summit aims to bring recognition to contemporary string music and to foster a creative platform for talented improvising string musicians to convene and to experiment.

First conceived in 2013 by Reid, Chicago Jazz String Summit is one of the few festivals in Chicago dedicated to presenting ensembles led and comprised of solely string players. “The purpose of this project is to bring more exposure and to support string players who are forging paths and boldly basing their musical life, outside of the prevailing classical path, in the area of jazz, improvised and creative music,” says Reid.

Speaking about her expectations for this year’s event, Reid remarks, “I am excited about the overall programming of this year's festival. We have several solo acts from New Orleans, Amsterdam and California. Over the course of 2 evenings, 6 ensembles will demonstrate a wide spectrum of string improvisation that is not often programmed together.”

This year’s festival artist line-up includes Mark Feldman (New York), Tim Daisy (Chicago), Mary Oliver (Amsterdam, NL), Hank Roberts (New York), Jacob Sacks (New York), Eyvind Kang (New York), Helen Gillet (New Orleans), and Hear in Now made up of Tomeka Reid (Chicago), Mazz Swift (New York) and Silvia Bolognesi (Siena, IT). The festival will coincide with the new CD release of Hear in Now, and will also honor American jazz violinist Michael White (1930-2016).

Violinist Mark Feldman is an active performer in the worlds of Jazz, Improvised Music and 20th Century Contemporary Music. In years past he has also been a soloist with the WDR Radio Orchestra and the Basil Symphonetta. Feldman will be playing in a duo with Tim Daisy, Chicago-based improvising drummer and composer.

Based in Amsterdam, multi-instrument string musician Mary Oliver explores virtuosity in both scored and improvised music, and is a key member of the improvising community both locally and internationally.

Over his nearly four-decade career, cellist Hank Roberts has forged a compelling original voice as a cellist and composer, encompassing abstract improvisation and soulful folk melodies, intricate newmusic compositions and vigorous rock songs. For his first appearance in Chicago since many years, Roberts will be performing with Jacob Sacks, one of the most creative pianists on the NYC jazz scene today.

Described as “a musical polymath” by the New York Times, composer and violist Eyvind Kang has performed work by composers such as Christian Wolff, Giacinto Scelsi and Hanne Darboven. As a former student of Michael White, Kang will be speaking about his mentor’s life and achievements at the festival.

Jazz-based cellist, singer, composer and improviser Helen Gillet performs her own eclectic mix of French, Contemporary Jazz, North Indian, Blues and Classical styles. Performed extensively across the United States and Western Europe, Gillet has forged a path for the cello in the New Orleans music scene since her arrival in 2002.


Hear in Now (HiN) is a collaborative string trio performing original jazz compositions. Members are Mazz Swift, composition, voice and violin; Silvia Bolognesi composition and bass; and Tomeka Reid composition and cello. The group brings together elements from their individual backgrounds and regions for a unique sound experience. Through their music and workshops, HiN brings more exposure to string improvisation and encourages other string players to explore their voices through improvisation.

Chicago Jazz Strings Summit is pleased to partner with Chicago venues Elastic Arts and Constellation. A group of graduate students in the MA program in Arts Administration and Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) also collaborated with the production of this event. Chicago Jazz String Summit is open to the public. Early-bird two-day pass is $25 for both nights and is available online via Click Here. Day-of-concert ticket is $15 each at the door.

Friday, May 12, 2017 Elastic Arts, 3429 W Diversey Ave, 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL 60647 8PM - Hank Roberts and Jacob Sacks (Duo) 9PM - Mary Oliver (Solo) 10PM - Mark Feldman and Tim Daisy (Duo) Tickets available for purchase at the door and/or through the link below Click Here for Info

Saturday, May 13, 2017 Constellation, 3111 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60618 8PM - Eyvind Kang (Solo) 9PM - Helen Gillet (Solo) 10PM - Hear in Now (Tomeka Reid, Mazz Swift and Silvia Bolognesi) Trio Click Here for Info

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